Maehara, Edano run in leadership election of opposition Democratic Party
August 21, 2017
TOKYO- Former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano filed their candidacies for the post of president of Japan's main opposition Democratic Party as the official campaign period for the election began on Monday.
The focus of the campaigning for the Sept. 1 poll is the two candidates' stances on whether the DP will continue cooperation with the Japanese Communist Party toward the next general election to challenge the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
While Maehara, a conservative politician, plans to review the DP's relations with the JCP once elected, Edano, supported by liberal members of the DP, seeks to maintain the two parties' cooperation.
Speaking at a joint press conference, Maehara, 55, said, "Working together with political parties with different ideals and policies doesn't make sense." Edano, 53, said, "The DP will do all what it can while maintaining its independence."
The election will choose a successor to Renho, who announced her resignation as DP president late last month following the party's defeat in the July 2 Tokyo metropolitan assembly election.
Eligible voters for the DP leadership election include party lawmakers, local assembly members, rank-and-file members and supporters.
Maehara was beaten by Renho in the previous leadership election in September last year. This time, however, he attracts support from conservative DP lawmakers who are frustrated at the current DP leadership.
He aims to review the DP's election cooperation with other opposition parties, including the JCP. He also sees it necessary to raise the consumption tax to beef up social security measures.
For Edano, it is the first time to run in a leadership election of the DP and its predecessor Democratic Party of Japan.
Edano as DP secretary-general played a leading role in promoting cooperation with other opposition parties in last year's election for the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of parliament.
Making use of the experience, Edano intends to field joint candidates with other opposition parties in the next election for the House of Representatives, the lower chamber. He also calls for increasing employment and wages in the field of child-rearing and nursing care, but opposes a near-term consumption tax increase. Jiji Press
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